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Senate Bill Would Severely Limit Governor's Power To Declare Emergencies

The governor’s authority to declare disaster emergencies would be severely restricted under legislation unanimously approved by a Senate committee Tuesday.

The measure – one of several this legislative session – is a reaction to executive orders issued by Gov. Eric Holcomb during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sen. Sue Glick’s (R-LaGrange) bill would only allow the governor to declare a widespread emergency, affecting at least 10 counties, for 45 days without the General Assembly getting to weigh in.

READ MORE: How Do I Follow Indiana's Legislative Session? Here's Your Guide To Demystify The Process

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If the legislature is in session – or gets called into special session by the governor – the emergency could go for 60 days. But after that, Glick said only lawmakers could extend the emergency declaration further.

“So that people don’t feel like they were left out or don’t feel that they had any input into the orders that affected so many people,” Glick said.

The bill also gives the legislature more authority on how to spend federal dollars that come to the state during an emergency.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.